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Google: Less value prizes for Indians
By Shalini Singh

Google has done much to democratize our world and improve our quality of life.  It has even donated tens of millions of dollars to charitable causes.  Google pays and treats its employees well.  That is why it is difficult to understand why the same Google contest offers winners in USA and UK substantially more than kids in India.

Google India had launched a ‘Doodle 4 Google - My India’ contest in August. The Doodle is the logo design you see on the Google homepage. The theme of this competition was 'My India'.  On November 12, Google India announced at Taj Ambassador Hotel that tech hub Gurgaon based 4th standard school kid Puru Pratap has won the competition.  Puru’s doodle ‘My India – Full of Life’ was absolutely brilliant and featured on Google’s home page on Nov 14, 2009 (pictured above).  Everyone loved it.

Apart from the satisfaction of seeing his brilliant creation on the Google home page and of getting a gold star on his resume, young whiz kid Puru Pratap won a laptop computer for himself,  a t-shirt with his doodle and Rs. 1 lakh (approx 2100 US dollars) for his school.

But his counterparts in USA and UK won substantially more. According to Google their US winner “will win a $15,000 college scholarship to be used at the school of their choice, a trip to the Google New York Office, a laptop computer, and a t-shirt printed with their doodle. We'll also award the winner's school a $25,000 technology grant towards the establishment/improvement of a computer lab.”

Admittedly, an Indian rupee will buy more in India than the dollar in USA.  But if the American child can get $15,000 towards their college education, why should not the Indian child also get a minimum of $2000 towards their education?  Why $2100 for the winner’s school in India and $25000 for the same school in USA?

It is too idealistic too expect total parity.  But perhaps some kind of pro rata would be fairer.

But there are many competitions run by American and European companies that offer equal prizes wherever you live in the world.  American software testing company uTest has a community of 14000 professional testers in 151 countries.  The uTest Bug Battle offers the same prize whether you live in America or India.

Vodafone Europe has just announced an Appstar competition with prizes worth 1 million Euros.  Indians can participate and Vodafone will give them the same prize what they offer contestants from UK and Germany.

The US Department of Defense has announced $40,000 prize to anyone in any part of the world who can detect their 10 balloons moored in ten fixed locations in US.  This competition will take place on Dec 5, 2009. If an Indian scientist wins this he will get the same prize as his counterpart in NASA searching for the 10 moored balloons.

Google owned YouTube has international competitions where the prizes are equal.

Perhaps I am overreacting and being oversensitive.  Perhaps we should happy with whatever prizes are given to us.

Are we children of a lesser Google? Or is the Indian market less important? Perhaps Bing has the answer.


(11/16/2009)
Comments
Vaibhav at 11/18/2009 8:39:38 AM
Good Point, Don't know why the distinction. Google should take some action on this.
Ramu Singh at 11/28/2009 2:06:07 AM
It is unfair to criticize Google. Their only consideration is ensuring they build their brand with minimum amount of investment in every country.
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